Moving to Australia
Moving to Australia
Share This Post
As of mid-2021, 201,930 South Africans have made Australia their new home, which is a 25% increase since June 2011. According to Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, South Africans are the seventh largest migrant community in Australia, accounting for 2.7 per cent of Australia’s overseas-born population.
What drives this considerable movement of South Africans to Australia?
The answer likely lies in a combination of economic and lifestyle factors. Australia has a resident population of over 26.6 million, yet maintains a remarkably low unemployment rate of just 3.9%. In contrast, South Africa’s unemployment rate stands at a staggering 31.9%, reaching 16.7 million in the third quarter of 2023. The draw of Australia for South Africans is also its familiar weather patterns (our seasons coincide), high standards of living, booming economy, low crime rates, incredible landscapes, and top-tier benefits. These factors collectively make Australia a popular destination for migrants seeking new opportunities and a better quality of life.
Australia visa information for South African migrants
Australia’s approach to permanent migration is comprehensive. The country’s Migration Program includes economic and family migration and is the main pathway to permanent residence.
Skill Stream Visas
These visas are for individuals with essential skills and qualifications. The Skill stream is key in supporting the Australian economy and encompasses seven categories:
- Business Innovation and Investment
- Distinguished Talent
- Employer Sponsored
- Global Talent (Independent)
- Skilled Independent
- State/Territory Nominated
Family and Child Stream Visas
This stream facilitates the permanent migration of close family members of Australian citizens, permanent residents, and eligible New Zealand citizens. It primarily focuses on partners and parents but also includes provisions for other family members like aged dependent relatives, carers, remaining relatives, and orphan relatives. Additionally, Child visas, including Child and Adoption categories, allow for the migration of children.
Special Eligibility Visas
These visas are designated for former residents and certain individuals who have served in the Australian Defence Force, granting them the opportunity to reside in Australia as permanent residents.
This structured visa system reflects Australia’s commitment to a diverse and inclusive society, offering various pathways for South Africans seeking to make Australia their new home.
What are common visa mistakes to avoid?
South Africans eager to move to Australia often rush the visa process. This leads to avoidable mistakes, says Sam Hopwood from Sable International, who pointed out common errors in a recent webinar focused on skilled visas and permanent residency paths.
One major mistake is not having a specific plan for where to live and work in Australia. Many apply for various visas without a clear target destination, which is less effective. The State Sponsored Visa (190) is a particularly good option and is now favoured by the Australian government.
This visa requires a nomination from a state government based on local labour needs. If your occupation is on their list and you meet their criteria, you could be nominated. Once nominated, you have 60 days to apply. This visa grants permanent residency immediately upon arrival in Australia, but you must agree to live and work in that state for at least two years.
A common error in applying for this visa, however, is selecting all Australian states in the hope of a quicker placement. States often reject such applications. They prefer applicants who show a specific interest in moving to their state. It’s not about the easiest option but choosing the state where you have the best chance of success.
When is the best time to move to Australia?
Lizette van Zyl, Elliott’s international manager, shares her thoughts on migration timing.
Deciding when to move to Australia is crucial, as timing can significantly impact your relocation costs. The busiest and most expensive time for international moving companies is during the summer, which coincides with the Australian summer.
To mitigate higher relocation costs, it’s advisable to plan your move and obtain a removal quote as early as possible, locking it in before the peak season rush. Accommodation costs also peak during the Australian summer, with temporary housing prices potentially being 20-30% higher. However, moving at the start of the Australian school year in January, although it’s the high season, can align well with family needs, especially for those with school-aged children.
Have you considered tax?
The timing of your move will affect how much tax you will pay. If you remain a South African tax resident, you will have to submit a tax return. It is crucial to report your change in status, known as “tax emigration”, to SARS (The South African Revenue Service). It is also important to keep in mind that when you move, SARS does not automatically consider you a non-resident. The criteria that determine your tax residency status are detailed and specific. We recommend getting in touch with a tax specialist early in your relocation journey.
Choose Elliott when moving to Australia
Elliott’s international team have successfully moved countless households abroad. Our premium relocation services and extensive partner network are unmatched in the industry, offering peace of mind for those who choose to move with their possessions. If you are unsure about how to move your belongings overseas, the international team are ready to assist you in choosing the best option for air and sea freight. If you are interested in shipping via groupage, have a look at our article “Groupage Services for International Relocations”.
Resources and useful information
Please keep in mind that the information in our blogs is for information purposes only. Additionally, country laws and emigration rules change. It is therefore essential to get in touch with the local home affairs office and use the current government immigration or citizenship resources they make available to you.